The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 9/14/17 Trump visits Florida & Caribbean
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: September 14, 2017
Guest: David Frum, Matt Miller, Jed Shugerman, Tim O`Brien
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: And I think the secretary`s comments – now their
own algorithms, their own operations preclude them from answering anybody
Well, at this point it`s a matter not just of international diplomacy,
it`s a matter of national security in terms of what Russia did.
And I think the secretary`s comments tonight about Facebook – well, I`ll
just say I would like to underscore them.
That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time
for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel, a riveting
hour and I want you to just take a deep breath or a short breath, and I
want to hear from Rachel Maddow what your reaction to the last hour of that
MADDOW: Well, I mean, the Facebook thing that I was just discussing right
there, I think just as a – as a point of focus in terms of what`s likely
to happen next about the Russia investigations, I was not expecting the
secretary to talk about Facebook in those terms.
And I think that`s interesting and important and deserves some reflection.
I think that Facebook should also answer to what she said.
So that`s kind of top line. I guess overall, I`m probably still too much
in the middle of it. I have to say at a personal level, I`m happy to see
her doing well.
When you`re seeing somebody who`s been a lifetime public servant, who`s
been through the kind of wringer that she`s been through, we all imagine
the kind of personal toll that takes.
And so I was happy to read the book and think that it`s a good book and
recognize her voice in it and know that she`s doing this good work to
produce this thing.
Because I`m also happy to see her in person and see that she is well. She
is definitely still in the arena, though.
Combative on the Trump administration in – without mincing words at all
and very straightforward and very – not aggressive is the right word but
assertive and well informed on the Russia stuff.
So, she`s – this is not a retired politician. I know she said she`s not
going to run again, but this is definitely somebody who is still very much
in the arena, given the circumstances of her election and who won against
I think that`s an incredibly interesting dynamic for the country moving
forward, we`ve never really had this before.
O`DONNELL: Rachel, I have always found that politicians who have run for
office, once they`ve decided and publicly announced that she now has,
they`re not going to run for office again.
But talking to them is a different thing.
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: There`s a different vibe from it. You talked to her, you
interviewed her when she was running for president.
You`ve interviewed her several times before this. This is a different
O`DONNELL: Occupationally who you`re interviewing tonight, someone who is
setting off in a different kind of direction.
And I have to say I felt from the audience that there was a different feel
to listening to her that you didn`t get that sense of candidate caution
and feeling –
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: The boundaries of what she can say about this and not wanting
to disturb certain constituencies.
You could just feel a confidence in, whether you like it or not, this is
what she thinks about this and this is what she has to say.
MADDOW: Yes, and I think that`s right. You know, she writes about the
cautiousness and guardedness of her public persona in the book and actually
gets some pretty good insight into its development and the pluses and
But my feeling when I had talked to her when she was running for president
was that her cautiousness and her measuredness with her words was because
she was somebody who was probably about to be president.
And so, she was preparing to be president and trying not to tie herself up
both in terms of somebody who ought to answer for something on the campaign
But also for somebody who wouldn`t want to tie herself up with stuff that
was going to follow her into the presidency.
A job that she knows very well and took very seriously. I always felt like
talking – she was the only non president I`d talked to whoever seemed like
Now she really doesn`t seem that way at all. She knows that she is not
going to be president, she`s not going to run for office again.
She doesn`t have to answer for those things either as a candidate or as a
public official. And she is being absolutely blunt.
And I mean, if you – if you don`t like her or you probably find it to be
pushy. If you do like her, you probably find it to be refreshing.
But you`re right, there`s a big change from what it was to talk to her this
time last year.
O`DONNELL: My long-term prediction is Hillary Clinton approval numbers go
up. And they tend to always do when a politician says I`m not running
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Because the public has a different relationship to that
person, that person is not asking anything from them anymore.
And they kind of have a – you know, I think actually a clearer view of who
that person is.
MADDOW: Yes, and some of that will depend on what happens inside the
Democratic Party. I think the Democratic Party needs to figure out who it
is now, and, you know, if it`s not going to be the Barack Obama party and
it`s not going to be the Hillary Clinton party, I think there`s a lot of
competition for whose party it`s going to be.
And how she fits into that will be part of how Democrats see her, but I
think independents and people writ large I think you`re right.
I think those numbers start going up and I think the fact that the book is
actually a good book will help with that.
O`DONNELL: Rachel, thank you for another great hour and an important
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence, appreciate it –
O`DONNELL: Thank you, thanks Rachel –
O`DONNELL: Well, we have new reporting from the “New York Times” today
that gives us new, dramatic details about President Trump`s
unpresidential, very unpresidential reaction to the Justice Department`s
appointment of the special prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump and his
family and his campaign associates.
The short version of it is that an out-of-control, livid president called
the Attorney General, sitting there in the Oval Office with him an idiot,
and demanded his resignation on the spot.
And the Attorney General called an idiot shook with emotion and then later
that day handed over his written resignation.
Here`s how it played out. Fade in on interior Oval Office day, May 17th,
2017. In the room, the president, the vice president, the Attorney
General, White House Counsel Don McGahn and other aides not named in the
“New York Times” reporting today which puts them high on the list of
suspects as sources for the “New York Times” article.
The “New York Times” credits their inside information on this story to
current and former administration officials.
That`s the phrase they used and others briefed on the matter. Now, some of
the former administration officials who were probably in that room are
fired White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and fired senior adviser
Now, coincidentally in the story told to the “New York Times”, Reince
Priebus and Steve Bannon do and say nothing wrong.
They`re the smart guys in the story. So if you`re betting on who the
sources of this article, who the sources of this dramatic scene might be,
high on your list should be Reince Priebus and especially Steve Bannon.
The man who pledged on Sunday night on national television that he would be
loyal to Trump forever. Steve Bannon is newly liberated from the White
House to tell whatever stories he feels like telling.
With his name on those stories or his name hidden in the credits, the
unnamed credits of those stories.
So the meeting in the Oval Office is to discuss the appointment of a new
FBI director and a replacement for James Comey who the president had fired
eight days before.
And in the middle of the meeting, White House Counsel Don McGahn received a
phone call, it`s not clear the “New York Times” reporting, whether he took
the phone call in the Oval Office or left the room.
On the other end of the phone was deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
telling Don McGahn that he was going to appoint a special prosecutor.
Don McGahn then announces that news in the Oval Office. Almost
immediately, Mr. Trump lobbed a volley of insults at Mr. Sessions.
This is from the “New York Times” account telling the attorney general it
was his fault they were in the current situation.
Mr. Trump told Mr. Sessions that choosing him to be attorney general was
one of the worst decisions he had made.
Called him an idiot and said that he should resign. Ashen and emotional,
Mr. Sessions told the president he would quit and sent a resignation
letter to the White House.
According to four people who were told details of the meeting, Mr.
Sessions would later tell associates that the demeaning way the president
addressed him was the most humiliating experience in decades of public
And that`s coming from a guy who was humiliated by the United States Senate
when the Senate refused to confirm him as a federal judge in 1986.
It was after that that Jeff Sessions got his revenge on the Senate by
running for a Senate seat and winning.
Mr. Trump ended up rejecting Mr. Sessions` May resignation letter after
senior members of his administration argued that dismissing the attorney
general would only create more problems for a president who had already
fired an FBI director, a national security adviser.
Mr. Trump once again in July told aides he wanted to remove Mr. Sessions
but for a second time didn`t take action.
Mr. Pence, Steven K. Bannon, the president`s chief strategist at the time
and Reince Priebus, his chief of staff all advised that accepting Mr.
Sessions` resignation would only sow more chaos inside the administration
and rally Republicans in Congress against the president.
The president relented and eventually returned the resignation letter to
Mr. Sessions with a handwritten response on it.
That resignation letter with that handwritten response will now become an
exhibit if it hasn`t already in the special prosecutor`s investigation.
Joining us now, David Frum; senior editor for “The Atlantic”, Matt Miller;
the former spokesman for former Attorney General Eric Holder and an Msnbc
Jed Shugerman; a professor of law at Fordham University. David Frum, your
reaction to this news today from deep inside the Trump administration which
remains the leakiest White House in history, even after General Kelly came
in there to stop the leaks.
The “New York Times” has apparently when you look at it, more sources than
they needed to construct this dramatic scene for us today.
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: It`s important I think if we give
credit to Attorney General Sessions who has held fast – he`s been
obviously as you can see here under ferocious presidential pressure who
wanted this investigation stopped.
It was Jeff Sessions who stepped out of the way to allow Rod Rosenstein to
make this decision. He has been under unrelenting pressure ever since and
he has – he has stayed the course.
Sessions is a very conservative person. But he is an institutionalist. He
was put in a position before his nomination where I think for reasons of
self preservation, he said things that were not true in front of a Senate
And I think that must rankle him because he is not an untruthful person by
character. He may – he`s very conservative, he`s not an untruthful
person, he`s an institutionalist.
And he has been holding the line, he is one of the most important defenders
of the institution the country has right now and we just got a closer view
of what has been brought to bear against him.
O`DONNELL: Matt Miller, your reaction to this scene with the Attorney
General. The president of the United States immediately calling the
Attorney General an idiot when he gets this news about a special
MATT MILLER, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR ERIC HOLDER: Yes, I think the
president`s conduct is abhorrent.
I think one of the words that really struck me is that he accused Jeff
Sessions of disloyalty. The Jeff Sessions decision to recuse himself from
this case was not a discretionary choice on his part.
It was a black and white requirement under Department of Justice conflict
of interest rules. And what the president was asking him to do was put –
was put loyalty to him, loyalty to Donald Trump over Jeff Sessions
adherence to the rule of law.
Over his requirement to follow the rules, follow the regulations as they
were laid out. And you can only think there`s one reason why Donald Trump
would him to do that.
Why would Jeff Sessions – why would Donald Trump care who is in charge of
If he wasn`t worried about where it would go. He wanted Jeff Sessions in
that job still overseeing that investigation I believe because he wanted to
steer it in a way that was helpful to him just as he wanted Jeff Sessions
there at the Justice Department to help him to sign off on the firing of
One of the acts is now been investigated as obstruction of justice.
O`DONNELL: Professor Shugerman, what`s your reading of the evidentiary
value to the special prosecutor, for example, of this account as presented
in the “New York Times” today?
JED SHUGERMAN, PROFESSOR OF LAW, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Where I want to pick
right up where Matthew Miller left off with obstruction of justice because
you know, Robert Mueller is reading the story and he is going to add this
to his list of questions because this ties directly into one of the key
components of an obstruction of justice case.
Under 18 USC 1512, one of the questions is whether the effort is to
corruptly impede, influence or obstruct justice.
And I think the scene that we have here helps establish – it`s one extra
piece to establishing a corrupt intent.
Why was Trump so angry about the Mueller`s appointment and Sessions` role?
Because one, he expected Sessions to help him obstruct that investigation
by firing Comey.
And you see his fear and anger about this appointment. Why was he so
fearful and angry? It paints a picture.
And by itself it doesn`t establish corrupt intent, but with all the other
evidence that keeps building, it`s another set of witnesses.
And the possibility of being able to flip Sessions because he now has some
questions about his criminal liability. He may be another witness in this
O`DONNELL: In light of this story and the possible sourcing of it for the
“New York Times”, I think it`s worth listening once again to what Steve
Bannon said to Charlie Rose on “60 Minutes” about the firing of James
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE ROSE, JOURNALIST: Someone said to me that you described the firing
of James Comey – you`re a student of history, as the biggest mistake in
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: That would be probably
– that probably would be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern
ROSE: So the firing of James Comey was the biggest mistake in modern
BANNON: If you`re saying that that`s associated with me, then I`ll leave
it at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And David Frum, days later we have this dramatic account from
inside the Oval Office, something Steve Bannon would have been able to
provide to the “New York Times”.
And now that Steve Bannon is a fired former Trump White House player.
FRUM: I`m sorry – sorry –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
FRUM: I`m very – right now.
O`DONNELL: I wanted your reaction to the coincidence of –
FRUM: Well –
O`DONNELL: Of Steve Bannon being fired out of the White House and now
stories like this start to come out.
FRUM: Well, when Steve Bannon says that the firing of James Comey was such
a terrible mistake, the question is, we`re back in this territory where the
claim is the cover-up is worse than the crime.
But Donald Trump may well have feared that he had no other choice, that
the consequences of leaving Comey in place were even worse.
That when you are, you know – when you`re in the cross fires like this,
you have a diminishing menu of choices.
And there is not – the suggestion by Steve Bannon, there were some
innocent way out. He could – he could – if he had left Comey in place,
everything would have been fine.
That suggested that there isn`t a big secret behind the door when I think
it smells stronger and stronger that there`s a big secret behind the door.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Hillary Clinton said to Rachel Maddow
about this story tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the goal might well
have been psychologically to really make Jeff Sessions who`s a very proud
man, I served with him in the Senate, didn`t agree with him on anything,
but I did serve with him.
To make him just be more dependent on pleasing the president. Whatever he
could do, delivering that speech about DACA, only to have Trump a few days
later say, hey, just kidding, we`re going to do something that will keep
these young strivers in our country.
It`s all part of his manipulation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Matt Miller, with your experience in government, your reading
of Hillary Clinton`s interpretation of the scene?
MILLER: I think Secretary Clinton is right, and especially if you look at
the time line here. So this meeting happened on May 17th, that`s the day
that Bob Mueller was appointed.
The president demanded Jeff Sessions` resignation, he got it and he turned
it down. It was two months later in late July where the president started
going – railing publicly against Jeff Sessions first on Twitter, then in
I criticized him as weak, and at the time everyone interpreted his behavior
as trying to push Sessions out the door.
I think we now have learned that he wasn`t trying to push Sessions out the
door. He`d already turned down his resignation.
So you have to ask what he was doing with that public belittling of the
Attorney General. I think it`s very clear he was trying to bend him to his
He accused him once of disloyalty and he wanted Sessions to know, if you`re
going to continue to be my Attorney General, you cannot do this again.
Look, the Russian investigation of Jeff Sessions is recused from. But this
is not the last time this White House is going to ask this Justice
Department to do something inappropriate.
We`ve seen Sarah Sanders do it from the White House podium the last three
days, and asking the department to investigate Jim Comey.
So I think what the president very publicly was signaling to Sessions was,
I expect you to do what I want you to do, whether it`s the right thing to
do or not.
O`DONNELL: Matt Miller and Jed Shugerman, thank you very much for joining
us tonight, I really appreciate it.
MILLER: Thanks –
SHUGERMAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Republicans are openly attacking the president after
he agreed to work on immigration legislation with Chuck Schumer and Nancy
To try to save the dreamers, find a legal framework for them. And the
president blamed the violence in Charlottesville on both sides once again
O`DONNELL: The reviews are in on Donald Trump`s dinner with Chuck Schumer
and Nancy Pelosi last night and the right wing hates it.
“Breitbart`s” headline today read, “Trump caves on DACA, wants quick
amnesty for 800,000 illegal aliens.”
Ann Coulter tweeted, “put a fork in Trump, he`s dead. At this point, who
doesn`t want Trump impeached?”
The bad news for Trump supporters came last night and Nancy Pelosi and
Chuck Schumer`s statement about the dinner.
“We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work
out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that`s acceptable to
The president got nervous about the right wing rebellion this morning and
tweeted, “no deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security
would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent, would be subject to
That provoked a response statement from Pelosi and Schumer. “President
Trump`s tweets are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night.
As we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on
the following: we agreed that the president would support enshrining DACA
protections into law and encourage the House and Senate to act.
What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security with our
mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible.
While both sides agreed that the wall would not be part – any part of this
agreement, the president made clear he intends to pursue it at a later
time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it.”
This morning, the president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we`re working on a
plan subject to getting massive border control.
We`re working on a plan for DACA, people want to see that happen. You have
800,000 young people brought here, no fault of their own and I think
something can happen.
We`ll see what happens but something will happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: As to the wall that he promised Mexico would pay for, the
president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The wall will come later. We`re right now renovating large
sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new.
We`re doing a lot of renovation. We`re building four different samples of
the wall to see which one we`re going to choose and the wall is going to be
built. It will be funded a little bit later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Remember Donald Trump leading the chants, renovate the wall?
Renovate the wall during the campaign? No, I don`t either.
Rush Limbaugh made it very clear on his show today that he is ready to turn
on Donald Trump if and when his audience turns on Donald Trump.
Rush Limbaugh has never been one to lead his audience. He always waits to
see where they`re going and then follows them as he did in his support for
the Trump candidacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: I stopped and I ask myself, would Trump really
do this? Does Trump not know how he would blow up the entire support base
he has by making a deal with Chuck and Nancy and taking the wall off the
table while granting amnesty to anybody?
I don`t care if it`s children, if it`s seasoned citizens – and I`m asking
my – would Trump really do that? Is he that – what? Fill in the blank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I don`t care if it`s children – oh, did I mention that Rush
Limbaugh has never had any children?
Joining us now is Tim O`Brien; the executive editor of “Bloomberg View” and
author of “Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald”.
He`s an Msnbc contributor. And back with us is David Frum. And Tim, I
know a lot of people look at Trump maneuvers and think, oh, what`s he
thinking? What`s he up to?
My first approach to Trump is always, he has no idea what he`s talking
about and no idea what he`s doing.
TIM O`BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: He`s a profoundly ill-
informed executive –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
O`BRIEN: He doesn`t know the nuts and bolts of most of the policies that
have come across his desk so far.
We saw it in spades on healthcare, and I think we`re seeing it now in
immigration policy, and I don`t think it bothers him that he is not
familiar with the details of the policy.
Because his first goal in all of this is self aggrandizement. And I think
he got a little bit intoxicated last week with the debt ceiling talks
because he finally got good press around the notion that this is a White
House that can push some kind of policy out the door.
But I think he was mistaken in his assessment of that because it was a
policy that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan had to get on board with.
I don`t think they`re going to get on board with him on DACA and certainly
not on Dreamers, and I don`t think he knows the difference between the DACA
Act and the Dreamers Act –
O`DONNELL: Right –
O`BRIEN: And I think Pelosi –
O`DONNELL: Right –
O`BRIEN: Schumer tried to roll him.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and so there`s this argument tonight, David Frum, where
the president is saying, you know, citizenship, absolutely not.
There`s no possibility of citizenship, but of course citizenship is in the
democratic approach to this as the end game for the Dreamers.
But that`s just another example of the president doesn`t know what they are
actually talking about whenever they`re talking about legislation.
FRUM: And he doesn`t know what he has been talking about, he doesn`t know
what his supporters want.
Immigration restrictionists in the Republican Party, and I`m one of them,
had in mind that immigration policy should look something like this.
That the things that we most cared about were enforcement at the workplace
and a reduction in overall numbers entering the country.
In order to get that, you had to trade something, and the thing that we
always had in mind to trade was some kind of coverage for people who are
brought into the country as children.
So that was a concession that you would trade for other things that were
important. One of the things that no one who is serious of an immigration
has ever cared about at all is this stupid wall idea.
Enforcement takes place at the work force – at the work place, and that is
what all of those – Tom Cotton, the intellectual community around this
have always cared about.
So Trump unaware of the things that his immigration supporters wanted
doesn`t even talk about those. He gave away the DACA concession for free,
and in order to chase this dream of a wall that actually people care about
immigration don`t care about it very much at all.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Nancy Pelosi said about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the word citizenship come up in the meeting?
And does the president understand that Dreamers includes a path to
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES: Well, I`m not here to speak about what the president
But I – you know, I do believe that there is an understanding that down
the road there`s an eventual path to citizenship in the Dream Act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And there`s a report tonight about – from “Politico” about
Donald Trump`s attitude toward the congressional leaders.
It says “in recent weeks, Trump has complained in private that it`s
difficult to have any sort of relationship or even make small talk with
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell.
He`s told staff that he finds Speaker Paul Ryan whom he`s dubbed `a boy
scout dry, as well`, but the two have some rapport.
By contrast, Trump can relate to Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy
Pelosi who talk more in non-Washington terms that he understands.”
According to people familiar with their meetings and Tim O`Brien, I think
we know what we`ve got going on there. Chuck Schumer knows exactly how to
play this guy.
O`BRIEN: He does, and the mystery here is that – is that Trump needs
McConnell and Ryan –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
O`BRIEN: Ultimately much more than he needs –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
O`BRIEN: Pelosi and Schumer. But because he deals at this very shallow,
superficial level of can I talk to you or do you look like a boy –
O`DONNELL: Right –
O`BRIEN: Scout –
O`DONNELL: Right –
O`BRIEN: He`s going to run into serious problems getting his legislative
agenda pushed through.
O`DONNELL: Yes, David, it seems that the president loses sight of the fact
that Nancy Pelosi doesn`t have the ability to advance legislation in the
House of Representatives.
There really isn`t even a process for her to have a bill brought up and get
a vote on anything. Almost a similar constraint on Chuck Schumer in the
He can try to throw amendments onto things, but he can`t bring up bills.
And you can`t move anything without those Republican leaders.
FRUM: You know what? Neither can Paul Ryan. That – Paul Ryan – I think
one of the reasons the president is so disrespectful of Paul Ryan is the
discovery that Paul Ryan does not have power either because he also does
not control the majority of the House of Representatives.
He controls a majority of the Republican faction within the Republican
Party within the House of Representatives but not enough to pass bills.
So he – Ryan`s position is more analogous to that of Nancy Pelosi than the
traditional majority leader versus minority leader.
But it is amazing that Donald Trump thinks – I mean, of course, Chuck
Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are jolly with him.
They have his watch, they have his wallet. Why wouldn`t they be pleased?
O`DONNELL: Right, let`s listen to what Steve King said about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: If there`s amnesty delivered into this package,
then I don`t know that any candidate could run for president again and make
a promise and expect the people to accept that promise.
I think that the truth – a reelection in 2020 will be very difficult for
the president if amnesty goes with DACA, and especially – if amnesty goes
with DACA and if a wall is not at least under robust construction by then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tim, so there`s the terms of the most fervent Trump supporters.
You`ve got to have the wall under construction and there can be nothing
that they call amnesty.
O`BRIEN: In fact, that was a very sober moment with Steve King because on
twitter today he actually said if Trump pursues this course he`s going to
blow up his relationship with the base ad he`s done. And that everyone will
realize that none of his promises are reliable. That`s the dangerous ground
he`s on right now.
Rush Limbaugh adjusted at that and Coultes, the Daily Collar put out a
story tonight, 39 instances of Trump trashed amnesty reminding him that he
has a long history of the other side of this issue. He`s in trouble with
the base around this stuff.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien and David Frum, thanks for joining us tonight,
really appreciate it. Up next, the President just brought all of his
problems with White Supremacists crashing back on top of him once again.
The President got into it again today and he sees the same problems on what
he calls both sides.
O`DONNELL: Tonight Donald Trump signed a joint resolution passed by
Congress Tuesday “condemning the violence and domestic terrorist attack
that took place during events between August 11th and August 12th, 2017, in
Charlottesville, Virginia and rejecting White Nationalists, White
Supremacists, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.” The
resolution signed by the President calls the murder of Heather Heyer a
“domestic terror attack and urges the President and administration to speak
out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, uniphobia, anti-
Semitism and white supremacy.:” Yesterday, the President met with Senator
Tim Scott of South Carolina in the Whitehouse to discuss these issues.
Today, the President was asked about that meeting with the Republican`s
only African-American Senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We had a great
talk yesterday. I think especially in light of the advent of the ANTIFA, if
you look at when`s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes
on the other side, also. And essentially, that`s what I said. Now, because
of what`s happened since then, with ANTIFA, you look at, you know, really,
when`s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying, in fact,
a lot of people have actually written, gee, Trump might have a point. I
said, you have some very bad people on the other side, also, which is true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Congressional resolution did not ask the President to speak
out against ANTIFA and the day the President signs that resolution the only
group, the only group he speaks about is ANTIFA, the group that was there
to protect the people who were protesting White Supremacy and Nazis. We`ll
have more on President Trump and the other side next.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what the President had to say in the aftermath of the
murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville and Congress now called a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display
of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. I do think
there`s blame on both sides. You look at – you look at both sides, I
think there`s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it. And you
don`t have any doubt about it either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Eddie Glaude, Chairman for the Center of
African-American Studies at Princeton University and Reverend Mark
Thompson, host of make it plain on SiriusXM Progress 127. Eddie, we are
back to many sides or both sides or what the President today just called
the other side and when asked to comment about this today after the
Congressional Resolution naming the KKK and others, the only group he could
name was ANTIFA.
EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I guess this is a sense of his
deafness to this issue. I mean one of the things we do know is there are
kinds of sensibilities that evidence themselves in these sorts of moments.
And it seems to me that President Trump finds it very difficult to not
engage in this false equivalence because he`s in some ways engaging in a
slight of hand. Right?
That is to kind of get us to see that there is a lot of blame to pass
around. So that we don`t really focus on the fact that White Supremacist
were at the core of what happened in Charlottesville and the core of some
people who support him in some ways.
O`DONNELL: Mark, when you look at this Congressional Resolution, there`s
nothing ambiguous about it. There`s no Trumpian piece of this Congressional
Resolution. It goes straight at the real problem.
MARK THOMPSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTIOR: Thanks as always for having me,
Lawrence. Need not reinvent the wheel, I think you said this is the
stupidest and most ignorant President in history. Jemele Hill of ESPN has
called him a White Supremacist. And better not hear upon her he had been
touched by this Whitehouse. If you put that together this is the stupidest
White Supremacist in history.
People were marching against the confederacy and those statues. He comes
out and suggests, well, what if they take down statues of Presidents who
owned slaves? Nobody even had that idea. Even White Supremacist say why
would you suggest that?
Even when Woodrow Wilson premiered birth of a nation in the Whitehouse the
movie depicted this racist fantasy of an African-American causing the death
of a young white woman, the White Supremacists Donald Trump is defending
and minimizing their actions killed a white woman. So it`s not many sides,
many sides. He keeps saying that. It is one side. And he needs to speak
out against it.
O`DONNELL: So this – it`s today a question about his meeting yesterday
with Tim Scott, the Republican Senator, the only African-American
Republican Senator and Tim Scott put out this statement today about what
the President said today. He said, in yesterday`s meeting, this is from his
office, in yesterday`s meeting, Senator Scott was very, very clear about
the brutal history surrounding the White Supremacist Movement and their
horrific treatment of black and other minority groups.
Rome wasn`t built in a day and to expect the President`s rhetoric to change
based on one 30-minute conversation is unrealistic. ANTIFA is bad and
should be condemned, yes. But The KKK is killing and tormenting Black
Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison. period.
GLAUDEL: I think that`s absolutely right. So we can`t expect Donald Trump
to change because of the photo opportunity that he orchestrated with
Senator Scott. That`s the first thing. The second thing we need to suggest
or say very clearly, Lawrence, is this. It is a longstanding practice in
the United States when confronting racist organizations that are violent to
in some ways castigate those who resist the organizations.
So there`s a reason why we often associate law and order with Nixon when,
in fact, law and order was invoked over and against Dr. King in those
nonviolent protesters. We need to understand that the NAACP was likened to
the KKK. Alabama banned that organization.
GLAUDEL: So the argument to equate ANTIFA, Cornel West was there with
clergy protesting in Charlottesville and said they would have been
fundamentally harmed if ANTIFA didn`t show up. They would have been hurt.
He said, in fact, they would be dead.
So this false equivalency is really the slight of hand, really to hide what
Trump truly believes. Trump truly believes that those folk who side with
him, right, actually reflect views that animate his own position. That`s
what we need to be clear.
O`DONNELL: And Mark, the whole point of arranging this meeting for
Senator Tim Scott and the photo opportunity sitting there with the Black
Senator to get the problem behind him.
THOMPSON: Well you said. He changes that everyday. He meets with
congressmen and talks about DACA and then he says we didn`t have a deal.
So he changes all the time. He may say something – he may come back
tomorrow and say something different from what he said before that. That`s
what he does.
But you know Senator Scott said is – is you can`t expect him to change in
a day. He`s got a lifetime to change. His father discriminated in housing.
He called for the central park five to be executed. He`s been called out
for his racism all his life. It`s time he wake up and grow up.
O`DONNELL: The first time his name ever appeared in “The New York Times”
Donald Trump was in a case of racial discrimination in the housing
O`DONNELL: – of the Trump company. Professor Eddie Glaude and Mark
Thompson, thank you both for joining us tonight.
THOMPSON: Thank you – thank you Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up the latest threat from North Korea.
O`DONNELL: Breaking news tonight. North Korea fired an intermediate range
ballistic missile eastward from the capital at 6:27 p.m. Eastern Standard
Time this evening. The ballistic missile flew over Japan and traveled
2,300 miles before landing in the pacific ocean east of Japan. This is the
second missile launched by North Korea over Japan in three weeks.
According to U.S. Pacific Command, the latest North Korean missile launch
did not pose a threat to North America or to the island of Guam.
The White House says that the – President Trump has been briefed on the
situation by Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson issued this statement tonight saying “we call on all nation to
take new measures against the Kim regime. China supplies North Korea with
most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced
labor. China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless
missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”
In response to North Korea`s latest missile launch, the U.N. Security
Council will have a closed meeting at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. In that last
hour this evening with Rachel, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR SECRETARY OF STATE: Diplomacy with North Korea is
complicated. It requires people who know the language, the customs, the
history. We have decimated our State Department; Foreign Service officers
with decades of experience have either been ignored or in some cases pushed
so hard that they have resigned. Right now, we need the best people we can
possibly muster to have – and full-court press on diplomacy, and then we
can see realistically where we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now from Tokyo is NBC News correspondent Matt
Bradley. Matt Bradley what has been Japan`s official reaction to this?
MATT BRADLEY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks, Lawrence. You know,
there was no injuries or deaths here on the ground in Japan because of this
missile test, but it did really cause the Japanese government and the
Japanese public to sit up and take notice. Now, of course, the Japanese,
they launched this over the northernmost island of Hokkaido, as you
And they were able to alert their citizens via the J-Alert System. Now
this is something that`s commonly used here. It actually sends out alerts
via text message and puts alerts on television telling people here to take
cover. Now this was, as you mentioned, the second time that the North
Koreans have launched a weapon over the Japanese.
And you know this is a lot like when they did it in late August. And that
was when they used their so-called Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic
missile. That`s distinct from the intercontinental ballistic missile or
the ICBM. And it was a lot like that. You know it landed about 1,200
kilometers east of the Japanese islands. But this latest test was clearly
a response to a set of United Nations sanctions that came just this earlier
Now, that really enraged the North Koreans, Lawrence, because those
sanctions were actually meant to dock the oil imports to North Korea which
are crucial to their economy by about 30 percent and it also blocked their
exports of textiles which are a huge source of foreign currency for the
North Koreans. And this test – it was actually very anticipated by
intelligence sources. They`ve seen for the past day the North Koreans
fueling this rocket on a platform in North Korea just outside of Seoul.
And, you know, just in the past several hours, we`ve been waiting for this
attack. And the Japanese they decided that they weren`t going to actually
shoot this down once they realized the trajectory, once they realized that
it wasn`t going to be going towards the island of Guam which, of course,
Kim Jong-Un had earlier in the past several weeks said that he would
encircle with flame.
But this launch did come about a day after the North Koreans said threaten
Japan, saying they would sink the Japanese archipelago, and in that same
statement said that they would reduce the United States to ashes and beat
it like a rabid dog. That`s the kind of florid threats that we`ve really
gotten used to hearing from here from the North Koreans over the past
several years. But this was also very significant because it was the first
major missile test since the North Koreans tested a thermonuclear weapon.
Now that`s something about ten times the size of the nuclear missile that
the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima. Now we`re waiting to see if they`re going
to be able to marry that ICBM technology with the nuclear technology. And
that`s the next big threat that we have to look forward to here, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Matt Bradley, thank you for that report tonight, really
appreciate it. Up next a report on the situation on the U.S. Virgin
islands tonight after the devastation inflicted there by hurricane Irma.
It is still a very difficult, very hard situation there.
O`DONNELL: Today the president surveyed the damage in Naples, Florida,
nearly one in four homes and businesses in Florida are still without power.
The president said he`s going to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands
next week. MSNBC`s Stephanie Ruhle is in St. John in the U.S. Virgin
islands with the latest on the recovery efforts.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Lawrence, anyone thinking hurricane Irma is
over, it`s not, and remember, it didn`t just hit the continental United
States. I`m here in the U.S. Virgin islands in the island of St. John in
Cruz Bay. Look at these boats behind me, destroyed. This Island here –
every person has been affected whether they lost their home, their roof or
Remember the Virgin Islands which we all say are like this paradise we
visit. Tourism is their number one industry some say it accounts for 60
percent of their GDP, it`s more like l 80 percent. These hotels will not be
open any time soon. It`s raining so hard they risk landslides. And yes,
FEMA has arrived but I have to say it`s on a limited basis. From people I
have spoken to in the streets, they haven`t seen a huge military presence.
FEMA came, they looked at some houses but they didn`t mark them.
They haven`t gone through homes. Many left because they thought Jose was
coming. We`ve seen some aid come, Mike Bloomberg brought quite a bit.
There`s been some NGOs and FEMA delivered 400,000 meals and 270,000 liters
of water but infrastructure is the name of the game here. They don`t have
steel, they don`t have concrete. Most of the island has no cell service.
This is going to be a long-term, multi-year problem for this region.
A problem that this administration needs to face.
O`DONNELL: Stephanie Ruhle is going to continue to be reporting from the
U.S. Virgin Islands for us tomorrow. The 11th hour with Brian Williams is
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the